June 7

June 7, 2006

Harmonicycling, RAAM and plumbing.

Harmonicycling

During our long drive to and from Opelika, Alabama for my first attempt at the 24 hour distance record, Ben and I had plenty of time to chat in the car. On our route down, I mentioned that I always wanted to learn how to play a harmonica. On the ride back, Ben surprised me with a harmonica which has sat in a desk drawer ever since. So, not being one to put off 'stuff I always wanted to do", I have been playing it during long rides while listening to my favorite blues podcast, The Roadhouse Podcast with Tony Steidler Dennison. A new way to pass the time on my long rides! I love it. Can't say I'm really getting any better though, but I am having fun.

Training is really going great. I love the fact that my life is all about cycling these days. I ride every day and really have very little else to do, so I really look forward to my training sessions.

My training weeks focus is the long ride. I do one ultra long ride every two weeks and a super fast century on the weeks between. The ultra ride develops my endurance and the fast century will develop my speed. Last Wednesday I did a 10 hour ride from Banff to Radium and back. If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, click here to open the route through the mountains that I took. You can zoom in and check out the highway and terrain.

I did a fast century yesterday and I am happy to report that it was my fastest M5 ride over 4 hours to date. According to the SRM data, I managed to end up with a finishing average of 160 watts and 120 bpm heart rate which took a steady output of 210 watts (134 bpm hr), 95% of the time to produce (160 watts includes breaks and pauses in peddling to coast). In the streamliner, that would equate to almost 60 kph average speed which happens to be the 6 hour HPV record. My fastest finishing average from last year training for the Alabama record attempt was only 130 watts, so this is a huge improvement. It seems that my lowracer geometry fitness is starting to catch up to my road bike geometry fitness - this is interesting. Perhaps the potential for both positions is the same.

Plumbing

Hey - don't read this if you think dealing with pee issues is distasteful or disgusting. There is no arguing that hydration IN is important, and dealing with hydration OUT is equally as important! If I drink an average of 1 liter of water per hour while I am 'locked' into the streamliner, then I'll be needing to flush out slightly less than 1 liter of dirty water per hour. Water IN is via my 3 liter water bag that can be re-filled every 3 hour pit stop. In Alabama, my water OUT plan was to hand a hospital urine bag out to a lucky pit crew member (usually Helen) who dumped it into the bushes. This was a major pain in the butt - and leaky and messy. Every time I disconnected the bag, some leaked out and wetted the underside of the fairing shells which caused the duct tape to release and air flow to leak in through the opening.

In an effort to deal with that poor system, my plan this time around was to simply vent the dirty water out to the rear of the streamliner and onto the track. Ya , I know - that's probably not very cool, and also probably against the track rules. Realistically, it's 99% harmless water that would evaporate within minutes on the asphalt, but dumping it onto the road just isn't right.

So - what I did was put together this pretty slick little plumbing system. I purchased the supplies from Home Care Medical Supply which consisted of an external silicon catheter (condom-like thing), a 2 liter urinary drainage bag, some tubing, some connectors for the tubing and a leak-proof valve.

The route the 'plumbing' takes is from the catheter into a clear plastic tube then into the top of the collection bag. The 2 liter bag will be mounted to the inside of the left hand fairing shell. It will hang such that the dirty water will fill the bag up from the top. I made a little valve that I can open and close with my left hand. When this valve is closed, the used water is collected in the bag. When it is opened, the water drains out the bottom of the bag into a flexible tube which runs to the rear of the fairing shell where it exits out the back. My plan is to open the valve during a pit stop where a crew member can collect the dirty water from the rear of the fairing, and then properly dispose of it.

I used Shapelock low temp thermoplastic to mount the valve to a heat-curved strip of Sintra plastic. The Sintra will be mounted to the inside of the fairing shell with a strip of 3M Dual Lock - the same interlocking fastener strips we use to mount the fairing shells onto the frame. Another Dual Locked strip of curved Sintra holds the bag secure against the fairing shell at the top. This way, I can operate the lever on the valve with one hand and the bag is held securely against the inside of the shell. I tested it with water and there are NO LEAKS!

The 2006 Race Across America starts on Saturday!!!

Yep - it's that time again. The worlds greatest bike race starts this Saturday and this year it is going to be very interesting. First, they have started a new class called the "Solo Enduro" division where riders are required spend a minimum of 4 hours per day off the bike. This essentially turns RAAM into an EXTREME "tour de France" - like stage race. 4 hours of sleep is better than the "Solo Traditional" division who still manage to cross the US in 8 to 12 days on as little as 1 to 2 hours of sleep per day!

But the REALLY cool thing about this years race is James Kern. James will be attempting to become the worlds first solo recumbent rider to finish RAAM. Because he is riding an aerodynamic lowracer, his average speed is faster than any of the pro cyclists riding conventional road bikes. We are really hoping James sets a new RAAM record! The race roster is here featuring brief bios on all the riders. You can get more info on James Kern here and you can follow his progress from the RAAM home page once the race has begun.

Congratulations to Colin Angus - the first man to circumnavigate the world by human power!

On May 20th, 2006 Canadian Colin Angus completed one of the worlds last great firsts - a human circumnavigation of the globe by human power alone. More details on his adventure here. Canadians ROCK!!!!


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